12th Apr2009

After the radiotherapy

by Dutchcloggie

We were warned about the side effects of radiotherapy to the brain. Tiredness, loss of short term memory, somnolence, loss of concentration. The oncologist tells you what to expect and you sit there and nod, thinking it will all work out in the end.

During the 6 weeks of treatment, JD did not really have any problems. She got tired and started losing her hair after 4 weeks. But no major problems. When the treatment was finished, we were told to expect the side effects to get a bit worse, until about 6 weeks after. And so we were not that alarmed when she started to get more and more forgetful. Nor when she was less and less able to concentrate. Or when she started to have problems with wetting herself in public. At the same time she was reducing the amount of steroids she was taking and headaches soon returned, indicating that things were not going all that well.

In the end, it was me who decided that things were not going well and were in fact getting worse than we were told to expect. Maybe selfish but I was no longer able to understand what was going on. AB would forget to do things she promised, she would not take me in to account in anything she did do (have dinner before I was home from work just because she felt hungry, make appointments with people on days that I already had something planned etc.) She also is unable to relate to her own emotions and is genuinely confused by questions that require a decision, be it a factual one or one based on emotions. She will give the answer you hand to her (‘You want red?’ Yes. ‘Or would you rather have blue?’ Yes, blue would be better.)

When asked why she says certain things or why she behaves in a particular way, she will look away, get distracted and (conveniently?) forget the question. This is all beyond frustrating for me and has brought me to the edge of reason with her at times.

I realise this is more my failure to deal with it than JD’s fault for being like this but either way, I struggle to deal with it. Some days I am able to just ignore it but on days that are perhaps stressful due to work etc, I might not be so patient and snap at JD. It makes me feel bad.

One Response to “After the radiotherapy”

  • rae

    just came across this page. partner had surgery for astrocytoma in feb and now having radio therapy – i have no idea what its doing to his brain and get scared as no one seems able to really tell you – and i’ve read that things get worse later so your blog is of great interest to me though i’m not a muchly computer person. i think as partners we notice so much – is the person still the same person? something has been lost…. courage and compassion to us all rae

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